Staffordshire Police Backs

Staffordshire Police Federation has questioned the “outrageous” budget handed to the area’s Police Fire and Crime Commissioner – at a time when the force has lost a third of its police officers.

The SPFCC has a budget of more than £14 million and Keith Jervis, Federation Chairman, said this amount was “wrong” and that the public deserves “re-balance” at a time when there are not enough police officers.

He has raised this matter with local politicians and the area’s MPs.

Staffordshire Police was made up of 2,400 police officers before austerity began, while it is now sitting at around 1,600, and many Staffordshire Police buildings are sitting empty and unsold.

Keith said: “Staffordshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner has got an incredibly high budget for a force that’s quite a small force really…The overall SPFCC budget - which is in excess of £14 million - is massive in comparison with police forces of a similar size.”

He has written to the area’s MPs and members of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel to alert them of his concerns, and has encouraged Federation members to take part in the budget consultation.

Keith added: “I suggest that the SPFCC budget be reduced by one third and the amount saved be used to fund the extra officers that the communities of Staffordshire both need and should expect.”

He also hit out at the “shameful waste” of cash as police stations sit empty, including Newcastle, Stoke, Lichfield and Stone police stations.

Keith added: “The PCC [Matthew Ellis] runs a lot of projects, such as Police Cadets, which are all ‘nice to have’ things. But in terms of officer numbers, it is the feet on the ground that we really need at the moment. That’s why the money is required.

“Unfortunately the ‘nice to haves’ will have to go because we need police officers. We cannot sustain the demand that we have with the numbers that we have. I think it’s right for him to make some significant cutbacks. We’ve lost a third of our officers, I think he should lose one third of his massive budget and that money should go directly into funding more officers. It’s as simple as that really.”